U.S. Immigration Statistics Q4 FY 2018 Released by U.S. Department of Labor

Ellis IslandU.S. Department of Labor Released Numbers and Data on U.S. Visa Applications

Immigration Statistics for Fiscal Year 2018 were released on September 30, 2018. Pertinent to our interests and services here at Sivaraman Immigration Law is the data for the PERM program, Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs), and H-1B visa applications.

The data that the Department of Labor (DOL) released includes the number of applications they received, top occupations, top work site states, top industries, top employers, visa classifications, country of citizenship, and minimum education requirements, as well as the number of certified, denied, and withdrawn applications. Please refer to the source documents from the American Immigration Lawyers Association for more information.

Immigration Statistics at a glance

The data shows that most application filings were on behalf of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) or financial sector jobs. And, most (about 9 in 10) required a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.


In FY 2018, the PERM program received 104,360 applications, which was 0.6% fewer applications than the previous fiscal year. However, The U.S. Department of Labor processed 109,550 total applications for the fiscal year. In Quarter Four specifically, DOL processed 35,872 applications and received 23,403.

PERM Occupations

STEM occupations were overrepresented in the applications. Computer and Mathematical occupations made up 57% of PERM applications. A further 9% were Architecture and Engineering applications. Management and Business and Financial Operations made up 7% and 6%, respectively. Whereas, Education, Training, and Library occupations were 3% of applications.

Those were the top five occupations represented in PERM applications.

PERM Industries

The most represented industries at first seem to dispute this occupational breakdown. Just less than half (49%) of PERM applicants were destined for Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (40%) or Information (9%) industry jobs. But, 15% of applicants intended to work in the Manufacturing industry, which requires many engineers and programmers to ensure their automated assembly lines remain functioning. Retail Trade (7%) and Finance and Insurance (7%) industry jobs took the last two spots of the Top 5 Industries.

PERM Localities

California was the predominant work site state. A quarter of all PERM applications were filed for jobs located in California. The next state with the most PERM applications was Texas with 10% of application, followed closely by New York with 9%.

More than half (52%) of PERM applicants were citizens of India. Chinese nationals were the second most common PERM applicants, or 11% of the total. South Korea (4%), Canada (4%), and Mexico (3%) were the third, fourth, and fifth most common respectively.

PERM Education

Nearly half of PERM applications were for jobs that required an Advanced Degree. Another 40% required a Bachelor’s Degree. About 1 in 10 required less than a Bachelor’s, and a mere 3% had some other minimum education requirement.

PWD Data

USCIS had 6,080 H-1B, 12,520 H-2B, and 142,233 PERM Prevailing Wage (PW) Requests during FY 2018. That represents a 23.7% increase in H-1B requests from FY 2017, but it also reflects both an 8% and a 5.1% decrease in H-2B and PERM requests, respectively. All in all, USCIS determined 18.3% fewer PW cases, though the agency does have 33.2% more cases pending over FY 2017.

PWD Employers

Unsurprisingly, PERM employers saw the most PWDs: both Intel and Microsoft had roughly 2% of all PWDs, followed by Cisco and Apple with 0.9% and finally Deloitte Consulting with 0.8%. PERM occupations with the most PWDs were Application Developers (18.7%), Systems Software Developers (7.3%), Computer Systems Analysts (6.7%), All Other Computer Occupations (3.6%), and Electronics Engineers (2.8%). Remember, this is for all PWDs issued during FY 2018.

H-1B employers with the most PWDs were all universities: University of Illinois at Chicago, Baylor College of Medicine, Indiana University, University of Florida, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all with 0.1% of determinations. In fact, not a single university is in that following list. The primary H-1B occupations were Applications Developers (0.4%), Bio-chemists and -physicians (0.4%), Accountants and Auditors (0.2%), Physicians and Surgeons, and Statisticians, the last two both with 0.1%.

The top H-2B occupations were Landscapers and Groundskeepers (3%), Maids and Housekeepers (0.6%), Constructer Laborers (0.4%), Restaurant Cooks (0.3%), and Waitstaff (0.3%).

H-1B Data

USCIS saw a 5.4% increase in H-1B applications received over FY 2017 with 626,907 total applications. Over 1.25 million positions were requested by employers, and they processed 654,360 applications. According to their reporting, USCIS processed all applications (100%) in a timely manner, possibly for having suspended premium processing.

H-1B Benefiting States

The states that received the most certified H-1B positions were California (25.3%), Texas (9.4%), New York (7.8%), New Jersey (5.3%), Illinois (4.6%), Washington (4.3%), Pennsylvania (4.2%), Massachusetts (3.9%), Florida (3.7%), and Georgia (3.5%). California received nearly as many H-1B certified positions in FY 2018 as the bottom 40 states (27.9%). Representing about half of the US population (51.6%), these ten states took in about three-fourths of the incoming foreign workers.

H-1B Occupations

Most of the top certified positions in FY 2018 were STEM field jobs: Applications Developers (23.4%), Computer Systems Analysts (14.4%), All Other Computer Occupations (9.9%), Systems Software Developers (5.5%), Accountants and Auditors (4.4%), Computer Programmers (4.4%), Operations Research Analysts (3.5%), Management Analysts (3.4%), Electronics Engineers (3.3%), and Financial Specialists (1.8%).

H-1B Employers

The largest benefiting employers were not US companies but rather UK based Ernst and Young (12.4%) and Deloitte Consulting LLP (5.7%). Cognizant Technology Solutions received 3.9%, HCL America 3.5%, KForce 2.7%, Apple 2.2%, Tata Consultancy Services Limited 1.7%, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. 1.7%, Mphasis Corporation 1.4%, and Capgemini America, Inc. 1.1%. All are in some way tied to the technology or financial industries. A mere four of the top ten were founded in America rather than being the American branches of multinational corporations. Perhaps their global perspectives gives a better appreciation of the global talent pool.

For Further Information

This blog post does not serve as legal advice and does not establish any client-attorney privilege. Do not take any action based on the information contained in this post without consulting a qualified immigration attorney. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.

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This information comes from AILA Doc. Nos. 18101932, 18101933, and 18101934.

Categories: Immigration News